Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Cor 13:1-13; WPC Santa Fe; January 31, 2010
A very deliberate and sincere message for the day.
Jeremiah's call story is marvelous and typical at the same time. Marvelous, the hand of God touches his mouth! Typical in that God comes personally to Jeremiah, commissions him to do God's will and speak God's word. Then there is the doubt, insecurity, fear: “I can’t do it!” And finally God always reassurance: “yes you can!”
Isn't that how each of us was called too? “Hey, you down there, yeah you. Get busy doing what I told you to do!” Regardless of how marvelous or typical our call was: Each of us has been called in various ways nonetheless! Sometimes we trivialize our calling, was it really God? “Now what was it God wanted me to do?”
But it’s really quite simple.
Yes it was God, and, as we have looked at the last few chapters of 1 Corinthians we see that God wants us to not make ourselves out to be better than our brothers and sisters but to serve our brothers and sisters. God wants to remind us that in community we all belong, and mysteriously are the body of Christ, and today we see that God wants us to act in love.
At the end of chapter 12 of his first letter to the Corinthians, after talking about all of these wonderful spiritual ways of being the body of Christ the apostle Paul gives us a little teaser...a way of saying, “oh, but I haven't finished yet, do read on.” He says...but let me show you still a more excellent way.
So this week, we talk about the more excellent way: Christian marriage. Ha! Tell me it's not true. How many of you who have been married chose to have 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, read for your ceremony.
The way that love is defined in this passage is certainly appropriate for the context of a marriage: Spouses loving one another in this way would make for a healthy long lasting relationship. But, marriage I'm sure was far from Paul's mind when he wrote this. Paul is writing to a group who is trying to be a community of believers with one another but is struggling at what that means. He uses words like envy, because this is what the Corinthians had (3:3); boasting, this is what Corinthians do (4:7; 5:6); Puffed up, the Corinthians are (4;6)
Paul is reminding that community that their true calling and purpose is to live a loved filled life, so that we may be unified and whole with each other and with God. Love=the most excellent way.
But what does love really mean?